I’ve done a number of these year-end things where I try to wrap up the year that was. I’ve tried different methods and I haven’t found the right one. The month-by-month always seems to favour the more recent months because of obvious reasons.
This year, I’m going to do a point-form scatter-shot of the year that we just had. Some of them may seem insignificant, I’m sure, but if I remembered it, I’m guessing it was not terribly insignificant to me.
Moved out to the country. I couldn’t have a wrap-up of this year’s events without including the most significant change our family has had since Olivia was born. Things are working out great at the new place and, thanks to the help of our amazing friends and family, we moved in halfway through July. The biggest highlight of our new house, so far, to me, is going outside to get a container on Christmas morning, only to see a moose in the clearing down the hill. The biggest lowlight was the ever-backing-up septic system that had me cleaning out the basement in sporadic but frequent intervals.
Moved out of our old house. I have blogged about the difficulty I had saying goodbye to our old house. I won’t pretend that it was better than our new place. It was in the same neighbourhood as at least two drug dealers and there were plenty of reasons to move away. Despite that, I miss the house and the memories we built there. Heck, I still miss the condo from time to time.
Working at Intuit. I’m not going to pretend that it was a breeze at the old office. There was a mountain of things that needed to get done and a whole crapload of long hours but I worked the extra hours, not because I felt I had to but because I wanted to. I didn’t want to let the team down and I didn’t. Despite everything that it took, we didn’t miss any of the target deadlines that were set out. I think about my work there often and I miss it every time I think about it.
Leaving Intuit. I’m willing to admit, now, that it was a mistake. In the spring, tax season was over and people were working on their whitespace projects. I helped out with one, a web application that used Spring and web services. But I was feeling itchy feet. They extended me to the end of the summer, I’m assuming so that they could have me available for the fall, when the big work started up again, but I was worried. How could I know whether or not they would extend me when the summer was over? And during the time that there was uncertainty, before they extended me, I had an interview at POSP. With all that, I felt it was time to leave. With all that’s come at POSP, I wish I’d taken the extension at Intuit. That ship has sailed, though, and my time at POSP is nearly at an end.
Getting a car. For six and a half years, I commuted via bus and bike. I lived in the city, I worked in the city – it just made sense. But I’d also forgotten how great it was to have my own vehicle. The freedom it affords – the ability to stop on the way home to pick things up – lessens a burden that I didn’t even know I had. And it’s fun. I like driving. I always have. Now, despite the cost, both of the car and the insurance, not to mention the gas, I have a car that I drive to work every day and it has cut serious time off my commute, completely forgetting the fact that I live much further away.
Getting ready to sell the old house. I certainly don’t begrudge the necessity of home repairs in getting ready to sell the house. There were a list of small-to-medium jobs that I’d been putting off and they finally came due. For weeks, Kim and I obsessed over floor tiles, paint, stair-handrails, not to mention the endless chore of keeping the house showable. I’d meant to blog all the work that went into the house in those weeks, but I was so busy working at the changes that the blogging never happened. In fact, that statement could be re-worked to account for a lot of things that happened this year. Maybe I’ll make a blog post about everything I could have blogged about this year but didn’t.
Vacati-ain’t. For the first time, I went a year without any time off or vacation. Granted, there was a day here and another day there when I took the day off for whatever reason but there were no week-long trips anywhere. Kim and the kids went to Southern Alberta for a getaway in a rented camper and there were the Anderson Acres weekend and the camping weekend at Old MacDonald’s Farm near Stettler, but that was it. I could use some time off but I don’t think it’s coming any time soon.
Quad. We bought a quad to help with snow-removal. The problem was, it wouldn’t start after we’d owned it a week or so. With the awesome work of my father-in-law and his brother, John, we’ve been happily clearing snow since just after the first huge dump which we cleared with shovels and the help of our neighbour, Aaron.
Junior High? Nick hit Junior High age this year. It isn’t that we didn’t expect it to ever happen, just that the fact that it did seems surprising. Hard to believe that I met him when he was just 2 years old. Now, we’re having conversations about stars and why the light from the furthest stars doesn’t reach our planet. It really is a marvel how far he’s come.
A Decade of Liam + Kim. On New Year’s Eve, it marked the tenth year that I’ve known Kim. We met December 31, 2002, at a New Year’s party. I got invited almost accidentally – a topic for a different blog post. Six days later, we were a couple and a year and a half after that, we were married. Happy tenniversary, Kim!
Christmas. Christmas, 2012, was a great time. So much food, so much candy, so many wonderful presents, and a chance to recharge from a December that was work-intensive. I have a blog post in the works about a touchy-for-me Christmas subject but it hasn’t resolved itself yet.
Houston Texans. I know a pile of you are not football fans, so feel free to ignore this bit and move on to the next emboldened header. At the beginning of the year, I was ecstatic for the Texans. They were in the playoffs. They won their first ever playoff game. The fact that they lost the next week in nail-biting fashion hurt but there was excitement and it was the first time the best part of the Texans’ season wasn’t the draft. This year proceeded in exciting and elating fashion with the Texans holding on to the top spot in the conference for most of the season. Then December hit and the team went for poop. I watched but I did not enjoy most of the last games. They made the playoffs, they host the Bengals on Saturday, and my heart is in my throat because of the way they’ve played. Still, PLAYOFFS!
Penelope and Angel. Sometime over the summer, Angel took off. He was the black cat we got around the time of Olivia’s first birthday. He left home and didn’t come back. I don’t know if some family found him and is treating him better than we did or he ran afoul of some predator. We mourned for a little bit and then got a new cat. Penelope has her ups and her downs but it evens out and it’s nice for the kids to have a cat to play with.
NaNoWriNOOOOOO. I thought I had a foolproof plan. I pulled it off for half of NaNo. Then I lost all interest. It got hard to write so I stopped. But I have half the wordcount of a NaNoWriMo novel and I didn’t have that before, so I could pick it up and keep going on it at some other time. I’m actually more enthusiastic about the story I was writing the year before, as well as the story I’ve been noodling with since high school than I am about that story, though.
Read-tastic or Read-drastic? Every year I set myself a reading goal. Since 2003, it’s been 50 books. I’ve never made it, despite a first-year result of 49 books. In fact, it hasn’t been over 40 since then. To that end, I scaled the goal back to 35 this year, which I thought was really doable. What I didn’t take into consideration were the facts that I would be dedicating a lot of time to getting ready to move, packing, moving, dealing with the increased overhead of an acreage, and not commuting by bus anymore. To that, I failed to reach my goal of 35 books, instead topping out at 25, thanks to a couple post-Christmas reads on my new Kobo Glo. What’s worse, the real goal I wanted to hit, even more than the 35 books, was finishing the Malazan series by Steven Erikson. I got a quarter of the way through the penultimate book then got distracted by other, more immediately-gratifying books. Since that is the case, the first two books I’ll read in 2012 are Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God. One goal that I’m pretty happy with, so far, is that I wanted to be caught up on my Wheel of Time re-read before the last book of the series, A Memory of Light, comes out on January 8. With the help of Audible.com and my local library, I should be done The Towers of Midnight by early next week, which will free me to finish the series. In a way, I’ll miss the frenzied re-reads, what with no new books coming out, but I’m sure I’ll periodically revisit Rand, Perrin, Mat, and the rest.
A Blog Dies.
Sometime in April, my blog hit a snag. Twice over the course of three months or so, malware caused the site to get blocked by Google’s services. I looked at the code and there were countless references to foreign sites. Needless to say, I felt no compulsion to navigate to those sites. After the second time, I was angry. Not just at myself for letting it happen again but at the software the blog was running on, the host for not having better security, and pretty much at blogging in general. I took the site down. I spent a couple of weeks trying to decide if I would even have the blog anymore. It was time-consuming but enjoyable, and gratifying to see people visiting and reading what I had to say. But if it was going to be compromised over and over again, I wasn’t going to keep working at it. So I made an agreement with myself. I signed up for more security with Dreamhost, paying a bit to make it as solid as I could. I increased the security of my passwords. And I blogged again. But this is it. This is the last chance. If the site is compromised again, even with all the enhanced security, I’m going to take it down.
So that was my year in a nutshell. Obviously it doesn’t encompass all that happened to me or that I did, including starting out with guitar lessons and other things, but it is an overview. On the horizon, I plan to bring forward a selection of the posts I deleted when I refreshed the blog, I plan to have a short synopsis of all the books I read last year, post about the books I plan to read this year, and get back on track with blogging in general.
Happy new year!